Attorney General Barr: 'I Think Spying Did Occur' Against Trump Campaign

11 April, 2019, 00:44 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Lieu plays Hitler comments in white nationalism hearing

Attorney General William Barr stunned Congressional lawmakers Tuesday when he was asked to comment on whether "spying" took place during the 2016 race for the White House; saying "I think spying did occur".

'I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal - it's a big deal, ' Barr said.

Asked again about spying at the end of the hearing, Barr tempered his tone "I am not saying improper surveillance occurred".

'The generation I grew up in, which was the Vietnam War period, people were all concerned about spying on anti-war people and so forth by the government.

Jeanne Shaheen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"I've heard their names", Barr responded, smiling.

The White House and Republicans have long argued that an alleged anti-Trump bias at the DOJ and FBI, as well as the "Steele Dossier", a salacious report compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele that alleges collusion between the president's campaign and Russian Federation, spurred federal investigations into Trump's ties to Russian Federation during the 2016 election.

"I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016", he said. Fusion GPS, in turn, hired former MI6 officer Christopher Steele and worked with former Central Intelligence Agency contractor Nellie Ohr, wife of high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr testifies on the Justice Department's budget proposal before a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 9, 2019.

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Last month, Barr issued a summary of the report, and said it did not have provide evidence of collusion.

Though Barr said Justice Department officials were still reviewing the bill, he told the committee that allowing states to set pot policy would be an improvement over the status quo.

"Once the report is out I'm happy to discuss the process", Barr said.

Barr, who was appointed by Trump, is already facing criticism by congressional Democrats for how he has handled the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report into the Russian Federation probe and his comments about surveillance brought more derision from Democratic senators.

"This is not launching an investigation of the FBI", he added.

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an entity but said he thought it has become clear that a few bad individuals had made highly consequential decisions in deploying it against Trump and his camp. "The question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated".

Barr didn't suggest at that time, however, that there may have been "unauthorized surveillance".

Justice Department officials are scouring the report to remove grand jury information and details relating to pending investigations, among other materials.

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